Hamas Hijacks U.S. Embassy Move to Stage Deadly Gaza Border Riots
Hamas predictably took advantage of today’s official opening of the U.S. embassy in Jerusalem to stage violent riots aimed at overrunning the Israel-Gaza border.
The Hamas-run health ministry in Gaza claims that so far 37 Palestinians were killed and hundreds more were wounded in riots taking place at 12 locations along the border. The casualty numbers, which are expected to rise, could not be immediately verified. Hamas has a history if exaggerating casualty claims.
The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) said that 50,000 Gazans are participating in the clashes. According to the IDF, three Gazans were shot while trying to plant explosive devices at the border fence, while others were killed attempting to open fire on Israeli soldiers.
The Times of Israel reports on the numerous violent attacks during today’s riots:
Protesters set tires on fire, sending thick plumes of black smoke into the air at several spots along the border, while the military said protesters assaulted the border fence and hurled rocks at soldiers. Several incendiary kites were flown toward Israel. One fell in a field outside Kibbutz outside Mefalsim, sparking a fire. Israeli firefighters and emergency personnel are at the scene.
The Facebook page for the Gaza riots instructed followers on where to breach the border fence and attempt to infiltrate Israeli communities, some of which are located about 1.2 miles from the Gaza border.
Earlier on Monday, Israel’s Shit Bet Security Services revealed it possesses information that Iran is funding some of Hamas’s Gaza border chaos.
“From the information we have, it appears Hamas is encouraging and sending protesters to the border fence in order to carry out violent acts and damage security infrastructure. In addition, it was found that Iran is providing funding to Hamas in order for it to carry out these violent activities along the Gaza Strip’s border fence,” the Shin Bet announced.
The Shit Bet further said that Hamas is instructing its own members to stay away from the border until civilians breach the barrier. “There is a prohibition for Hamas operatives to approach the border, from a fear that they will be killed or captured by IDF troops, unless the security fence falls and then they must enter, armed, into Israel under the cover of the masses and carry out terror attacks,” said the Shin Bet statement.
On Sunday, the IDF warned in a video that Hamas is planning to “massacre” Israelis if its terrorists infiltrate the Israeli border.
The army dropped leaflets over Gaza warning residents against approaching the border.
Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman further warned Gazans on Monday against participating in Hamas’s riots: “I suggest to the residents of Gaza: Do not be blinded by [Hamas leader Yahya] Sinwar, who sends your children to sacrifice their lives without hope,” Lieberman tweeted. “We will protect our citizens by all means necessary and will not allow the fence to be breached.”
This reporter previously analyzed some of the reasons Hamas may have organized the mass protests:
The Islamist terrorist group understands the Gaza population is frustrated that 11 years of Hamas rule has resulted in destructive wars – launched each time by Hamas itself – and an economy dangerously teetering on the brink of collapse. Hamas’s decision to turn Gaza into a terrorist enclave has prompted an Israel-Egypt boycott that has impacted all aspects of Gaza life, although Israel allows for truckloads of humanitarian goods and supplies per day to enter Gaza.
Gazan’s are also suffering from the Hamas-Fatah divide, with the rulers of the West Bank and Gaza Strip failing to reach a reconciliation agreement that would likely result in the flow of aid to Gaza.
Hamas views Israel’s upcoming 70th anniversary and President Donald Trump’s historic decision to relocate the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem as perfect opportunities to channel Gazans anger and redirect the rage toward the easiest target – Israel.
Hamas knows the ensuing casualty count will bring international news media attention to the humanitarian crisis in Gaza, and it will thrust the issue to the forefront of the foreign policy debate.
The border clashes may also press Egypt into easing the blockade and putting Egyptian pressure on Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’s Fatah party to reach a reconciliation deal since Gaza tensions usually favor the jihadists operating against Egypt in the Sinai. Abbas must fear that the protests could spread to the West Bank and threaten his rule there.
Lastly, Hamas may also be signaling to Iran and to other potential state patrons that Hamas is still the dominant player in Gaza and that it is useful to financially support the terrorist movement once again.
( Source )